Karl Gallagher (libertarianhawk) wrote,
Karl Gallagher

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Geraghty's Draft Contract

I've been blocked on a few big, elaborate posts I've been trying to write, some of which may spin off pieces that turn into whole new posts. In the meantime I'm going to do something easy: critique somebody else's platform for 2008.

Jim Geraghty wrote an eleven-point "Future Contract With America", hoping that 90% of conservatives would like at least 9 of the 11 points. I'm not a conservative, but he's got some I like:

ONE: SECURITY: Federal, state, and local governments - as well as private organizations - will provide CPR, first aid, and firearms training for any American who seeks it, forming a civilian corps of "Minutemen" ready to respond to crises in their area at a moment's notice.

I'm all for that. In fact I have been for years. But a big part of making that a real improvement is allowing "Minutemen" to have their guns handy where ever an attack may happen. So we'd have to stop having designated victim areas such as universities--and states--which restrict or ban concealed carry.

TWO: SPENDING: An across-the-board freeze on non-military federal employee salaries, originally proposed by Bill Clinton, and $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in new taxes, originally proposed by Leon Panetta

Sounds great to me. Um, he's planning on having Republicans deliver on this? They racked up a really miserable record on spending this century. Okay, the Dems aren't improving on them much . . . but neither one is giving me a reason to pick them over None Of The Above.

THREE: TAXES: All overtime pay is tax-free.

Fine by me. Not that it does me much good since I'm salaried.

THREE AND A HALF: HEALTH CARE: To bring down the cost of health care, we need to increase the supply. The centerpiece of our plan would be a nationwide sustained effort to expand the number of health care providers in every field.

*head-scratching* Competition among providers won't make much difference for costs driven by government regulation (most insurers use Medicare rates as their benchmark) and the inefficiencies of having payments made by some accountant many layers removed from the patient. Plus there's a lot of restrictions on health care because of the licensing and accreditation restrictions on doctors and med schools. I have no idea how he's intending to break that, so I can't sign up for a pig in a poke.

FOUR: ENVIRONMENT: Reducing carbon emissions by subsidizing improvements in Chinese coal plants and offering prizes for efficient ways to sequester CO2.

Pass. I don't buy the need to reduce CO2 and think we've got higher priorities. Those worried about it can sponsor their own prizes. On which note, huzzah for Richard Branson for taking action without using tax dollars.

FIVE: ENERGY: Remembering the law of supply and demand as we did with health care, we will encourage the development of multiple, overlapping sources of energy. Wind farms, drilling in ANWR, new nuclear plants, upgrading the Mexican oil industry, have several competing energy suppliers for their home electricity.

I'm all for removing government barriers to developing new sources of energy. Subsidizing ones that can't win in the marketplace is wasting money. And if Mexico's oilmen are too corrupt to maintain their facilities now how do we keep them from stealing and selling the new stuff we send them?

SIX: IMMIGRATION: At least a fence and perhaps a wall. After that illegals can become citizens if they've obeyed the laws, paid taxes, and learned English.

"Amnesty" is not a dirty word to me but I like the fence as a security tool. I'm also fine with deporting lawbreakers who turn out to be noncitizens. But we've got enough worries without wasting effort tracking down honest workers. Sure, that's unfair to the people in the legal immigration labyrinth--but we have higher priorities.

SEVEN: EDUCATION: Foster and encourage teacher specialists who have mastered a subject matter, such as engineers and mathematicians.

So . . . the assumption here is that the biggest problem in American education is the lack of subject matter knowledge among Jr High and High School teachers. On the list of education problems I'd probably put that between 10th and 20th. The biggest one is that most schools are government-subsidized monopolies with no fear of going out of business. The second biggest is that secondary education is about storage, not education and the kids know it even if they can't articulate it. I've taught kids in that age range and the school have conditioned them to be hostile to learning. Putting me in front of the physics class at Saginaw High won't fix that, no matter how much more qualified I am than the current teacher.

EIGHT: CULTURE: Use conservative media outlets to ridicule Hollywood types offering political opinions rather than attempting censorship.

Isn't Rush already doing that? Along with a lot of other people? And if the government isn't going to be involved why is it in a political platform?

NINE: INFRASTRUCTURE: Subsidize development of high-speed rail lines across the country.

Pass. Trains are great at freight, and I've enjoyed riding on them. But if you want to go 300 mph or faster planes already do it and you don't have to condemn anybody's property to let a plane go in a straight line.

TEN: THREAT RECOGNITION: We change our national policy to explicitly authorize TSA to use common sense and abandon random searches, and instead adopt the Israelis' techniques of threat recognition, passport and behavior profiling.

Another thing I've supported for years

And there Geraghty's list ends. Which makes me wonder about the big gaping hole: The War Against Islamofascism in general and Iraq in particular. There's several strategic options and I can support more than one. But not tackling the biggest issue facing the country at all makes the platform as a whole irrelevant.
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